The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Ambassador Ischinger has been Chairman of the Munich Security Conference since 2008. He is also Global Head of Government Relations, Allianz SE, Munich.
From 2006 to 2008, he was the Federal Republic of Germany's Ambassador to London. Prior to this assignment, he was the German Ambassador to the United States of America from 2001 to 2006, and from 1998 to 2001 Deputy Foreign Minister. In 2007, he represented the European Union in the troika negotiations on the future of Kosovo.
Wolfgang Ischinger studied law at the universities of Bonn and Geneva and obtained his law degree in 1972. With a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD he continued studying international law, foreign economic relations and history at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and at Harvard Law School, Cambridge/USA (Master of Arts, Fletcher School, 1973).
From 1973 to 1975, he served on the staff of the Secretary General of the United Nations in New York. In 1975, he joined the Federal Republic of Germany's Foreign Service. He worked in the Policy Planning Staff of the Federal Foreign Office and at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., focussing on security policy issues. From 1982 to 1990, Wolfgang Ischinger served on the staff of the Federal Foreign Minister, became the Minister's Private Secretary in 1985, and Chief of the Parliament and Cabinet Division of the Federal Foreign Office in 1987. In 1990, he was appointed Minister and Head of the Political Section of the German Embassy to Paris. In 1993, he was named Director of the Policy Planning Staff of the Federal Foreign Office.
In 1995, he became Political Director-General of the Federal Foreign Office. As Political Director, Mr. Ischinger was Head of the German Delegation during the Bosnian Peace negotiations in Dayton/Ohio in 1995, the negotiations on the NATO-Russia Founding Act in 1996/1997, and during the Kosovo crisis in 1998. In October 1998, he was appointed State Secretary (Deputy Foreign Minister) of the Foreign Office, and represented the German Government in numerous international and European fora, including the United Nations and NATO. In 1999, he was named a member of the German-Russian Strategic Working Group which the German Chancellor and the Russian President had jointly established.
Ambassador Ischinger has published widely on foreign and security policy in German, English and French. He is a member of the boards of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), the Council on Public Policy, and AFS Germany (American Field Service). He is also a board member of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the East-West Institute, New York, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS). He is a member of the European Council on Foreign Affairs (ECFR) and the Global Zero Commission, promoting the vision of a nuclear-free world. Since December 2009, he has been co-chair of the Euro-Atlantic Security Inititative (EASI) of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Furthermore, Ambassador Ischinger is a member of the Independent Commission on Turkey, chaired by Peace Nobel Laureate and former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari.